Milton CAT and Vecna Robotics announced today that the Massachusetts distribution center for Milton CAT, the leading provider of Caterpillar machine parts and services has successful integrated robotic lift truck technology into its operations.
Vecna Robotics is a leader in next-generation, robotic, material-handling automatic ground vehicles (AGVs) and produces a full line of robots including the RL3600 lift truck.
The deployment has allowed Milton CAT to achieve its goals of finding affordable and advanced automation to improve fulfillment speed and optimize workflows for its 15-acre, 87,000-square-foot Milford parts operation that houses 220,000-line items.
“We sought robotic AGV integration primarily to improve customer service and reduce customer response time, but also to improve the employee experience and operations safety,” said Mike Erskine, Corporate Distribution Manager of the Milton CAT Milford distribution center. “This is the first step in a path to increasing the efficiency and automation in our processes, and Vecna Robotics is helping us achieve this with a scalable solution that will enable us to introduce more robots in a gated, progressive manner”
Vecna Robotics’ next-generation material-handling fleet provides highly scalable automation solutions that can be incrementally deployed alongside existing manual vehicles and have proven to be highly cost effective. They are designed and certified to operate safely around humans in dynamic environments, allowing for maximum flexibility and productivity. Robots can be used for precision movement of boxes, totes, cases, carts, shelves, bins, pallets, non-conveyables, and heavy, oversized SKUs.
Milton CAT has already measured positive results, including:
- Ease of integration. With no infrastructure changes required and within hours, warehouse personnel could call the first autonomous lift truck on demand and see it efficiently fulfilling orders. The installation included permitting the robot to interact with powered doors and other facility infrastructure to autonomously execute tasks.
- Customer satisfaction. Use of the autonomous lifter has improved Milton CAT’s ability to meet its order fulfillment goals, with a corresponding increase in customer satisfaction.
- Efficiency. Management has found that the use of this solution to be highly reliable and note that it has enabled employees to delegate work to the robot and focus more on value-added tasks.
Erskine initially estimated a Return on Investment (ROI) within two years. However, performance has far exceeded expectations, “It’s easy to see that we will achieve that return much sooner,” he said, “plus, there is what I refer to as the hidden ROI. You can’t put a value or number on being able to get parts to a customer in a much shorter time frame or the reduction of physical wear on employees that were manually moving these parts back and forth.”
Mid-sized and small businesses, in particular, require solutions that are customizable and scalable without necessitating mass overhaul in order to compete, says John Hayes, Vice President of Sales and Logistics for Vecna Robotics. “We’re excited that Milton CAT has already seen an impact on customer service, delivery time and overall efficiency.”